Showing posts from November, 2009

movie monday: Coco Before Chanel

One of my new goals is to start seeing movies in the theater again. My specific plan is to treat myself to a film every Friday night at the Spectrum, the local, independent art house theater, which is conveniently located next to the New World Bistro Bar, my favorite restaurant in town, where I'll treat myself to a glass of wine after the show. I started my new tradition last Friday, and I had so much fun. I'll post my movie reviews here on Monday mornings.

The movie: Coco Before Chanel is aptly titled; it follows Coco Chanel from her time in an orphanage, but it stops where most people become familiar with her story. The film stars the delightful Audrey Tatou as Coco. Perhaps my favorite thing about Coco Before Chanel was it's honesty. I confess to loving the feel-good rags to riches biopics as much as anyone, but it's rare to see a biographical film provide hope with honesty and without sappiness. Most of the film is not feel good. It's hardly depressing, but it i…

sunday salon: Thanksgiving wrap-up

While Thanksgiving brings wonderful time spent with family and friends, as well as a few days to relax, the most exciting about Thanksgiving for a graduate student is knowing the end of the semester is almost here. There may be a lot to get done in the next two weeks, but I'm already looking forward to the ability to read, relax and watch movies without feeling guilty.

I also became an Amazon Associate this week. You should notice the Amazon search box to the right of this post. You'll also notice a link to purchase each book I review at the bottom of posts. The program is rather simple: when you click on links from my site to purchase things at Amazon, I get a small percentage commission; you pay the same price. While it's not secret I want a Kindle, I decided to stop hoping I win one and start making plans to buy one. I'll use the money I earn through the Amazon Associate program to finance my Kindle. I hope the advertising won't be distracting. I don't have …

graphic novel review: The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

The Complete Persepolis contains Persepolis and Persepolis 2 in one volume. Although there is no indication where the second volume begins, there is a shift in the story. Persepolis is an autobiography in graphic novel. Marjane Satrapi grew up in Iran, and the book is as much a story of the Persian people and Iran's history as it is her own. It's a fascinating look at a country and its history, but it's most remarkable seen through the eyes of a child. It's incredibly moving to think and see how much geography plays into our own sense of self and autobiography.

From a visual standpoint, Persepolis is simple and beautiful. There are frames so packed with meaning, I would stare at them for a few minutes. I would gladly hand several on my wall. It's an incredibly accessible graphic novel, as it's rather verbose, but Satrapi's drawings are powerful.

Persepolis is clearly a powerful book, and I do believe it's an important book, particularly for Westerners. I…

book review: A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd

I've been craving mysteries lately, especially historical mysteries. I read a few glowing reviews of A Duty to the Dead, the first in a new historical mystery series by Charles Todd. The reviews were right.

The novel is set in 1916, and it opens with the British hospital ship Britanic being hit. The action grabbed me right away, and I instantly felt an affinity for Bess, the narrator. She's an army nurse and an independent woman.

The crux of the novel is unraveling the mysterious final message a dying solider entrusted Bess with. She has romantic feelings for him, and she takes the post-Britanic break to visit his family to deliver his dying message. Bess is smart, proper and independent all at the same time. The prose flows beautifully, and the setting is luscious.

I loved this book, and I read it in less than a day. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to the next Bess Crawford novel! I'm also eager to read Charles Todd's other mystery series featuring Ian Rutl…

waiting on wednesday: Hell Gate by Linda Fairstein

Jill at Breaking the Spine hosts Waiting on Wednesday, a weekly event to highlight a not-yet-released title you're excited about.

It's no secret I'm a huge fan of Linda Fairstein and her Alexandra Cooper mysteries. I discovered the series a in 2003, and I always look forward to the latest installment. Fairstein's writing continues to improve, and her novels are a beautiful mix of compelling mystery and informative, especially about the history of New York City.

Fairstein's twelfth Alexandra Cooper novel, Hell Gate, comes out on March 9, 2010. In Hell Gate, Alex finds her attention torn between investigating a shipwreck that has contraband cargo-human cargo-and the political sex scandal of a promising New York congressman now fallen from grace. When Alex discovers that a woman from the wreck and the congressman's lover have the same rose tattoo-the brand of a "snakehead", a master of a human trafficking operation-it dawns on her that these cases aren&…

book review: Driving Sideways by Jess Riley

Driving Sideways is Jess Riley's first, and sadly, only novel to date. It's the story of 28-year-old Leigh Fielding, who has just received a kidney transplant and a new outlook on life. After not expecting to live past her 30th birthday, Leigh decides to live boldly for once and take a road trip from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin to Los Angeles, where her mother, who left when she was five, lives. Along the way, she stops to see her college boyfriend, her best friend, and the family of the man who donated her kidney.

The description of the book does not begin to do it justice, and I'm not a fan of the cover. I read this book because I'd read so many great reviews. It's a road trip novel for my generation. I love Jack Kerouac's On the Road, and this book captures it's spirit but bears little other resemblance besides the a prominent road trip. Leigh is irreverent, funny, smart, grounded, and delightful. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and I adore it's a…

book review: Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain

Evil at Heart is the third book in Chelsea Cain's Gretchen Lowell series. I enjoyed the first two, and this one did not disappoint either. Gretchen Lowell is on the run, and Archie is staying in a psychiatric ward by choice. To many, many people, however, Gretchen has become a hero. There are fan sites, "Run, Gretchen!" t-shirts, and a Beauty Killer manicure (like a French one, but with blood red tips instead of white). There's even a fake fan site, and it's fantastic. The book gives us the perfect set-up: there are bodies with Gretchen's signature, but no one can tell if she's killing again, manipulating people to kill for her, or if it's purely the work of her fans trying to emulate her. "Portland seemed divided into two groups of people these days--people who wanted to get as far away from Gretchen's crime scenes as possible, and people who wanted to rub up against her corpses" (p. 122).

Chelsea Cain infuses her characters with joy, h…

sunday salon: the importance of negative reviews

The Importance of Negative Reviews:
Earlier this week I posted a review of Behind the Bell by Dustin Diamond. I considered not reviewing the book because it was so bad, but after a few people asked me how I liked it, I decided to review it. Many bloggers don't post negative reviews, and I respect that. I was blown away by the positive comments I got on my incredibly negative review. Most commenters thanked me for my honesty, and it got me thinking about negative reviews in the larger context. I think they're important, and I don't come across very many of them.

Reading is about personal taste, and simply knowing what books I like doesn't tell the whole story. I write reviews because looking at a star rating only tells part of the story. I give a lot of four-star reviews. I'm pretty good at finding books I enjoy to read, and I think most book bloggers agree. There are authors I always enjoy, books in a series I like, and recommendations from those whose taste is sim…

children's graphic novel review: Kristy's Great Idea

I grew up reading The Baby-Sitters Club series. I remember seeing a display of the first four in the series in a bookstore and asking my father to buy them for me. I think he only bought me one or two that day, and he told me I could have the next ones when I finished those. Thus began my monthly trip to the bookstore to get the latest book. I began to outgrow them somewhere around the 120th book. I loved the movie, and I watched the tv show. I played the board game with anyone who would play with me, and often with myself.

When I stumbled across news that there was now a graphic novel series, I immediately wanted to read it. The first four books in the original series have been transformed by Raina Telgemeier into graphic novels. The characters were immediately recognizable, which was wonderful. After all of the book covers, the tv show and the film, there are many images of each character out there, but Ms. Telgemeier did a fantastic job of making them look the way I think they shou…

children's book review: Diary of Wimpy Kid #3 - The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney

I've really enjoyed the first two books in Jeff Kinney's hilarious Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. The third is more of the same. Honestly, the books are starting to run together for me at this point, which is not necessarily a bad thing. There is an overarching problem and resolution in each book, but for the most part, the books are all collections of funny stories. To some extent, the stories could be mixed and matched within the books. It's a joy to have a series of books that don't rely on what came before them. (I love books in a series, and I grew up on Sweet Valley Twins, Baby-Sitters Club, Fantastic Five, Sleepover Friends, etc., but I would never dream of reading them out of order. Harry Potter beautifully builds on past actions; you can't read them out of order.) Parents, teachers, independent booksellers and librarians can hand a child, even a reluctant reader, a Wimpy Kid book, and it won't really matter which one it is. It's a fantastic, hilariou…

Waiting on Wednesday: O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell

Jill at Breaking the Spine hosts Waiting on Wednesday, a weekly event encouraging bookbloggers take Wednesdays to feature an upcoming book they're excited about.

This week I've selected the new novel by Robin Maxwell, author of several historical novels. 

O, Juliet is the story of Juliet Capelletti. Yes, Robin Maxwell is taking on Shakespeare's beloved Romeo and Juliet, and I can't wait to read it. I've never read Robin Maxwell before, despite her books always sounding interesting to me. This book is definitely on my wish list. I first read Romeo and Juliet in ninth grade, and I absolutely adored it. Something about that play speaks to me. The last time I was in Venice, I dragged nomadreaderboy to Verona to see the home "Juliet" grew up in. It was overrun with tourists, but I still loved it. I gladly posed with the statue of Juliet and purchased a t-shirt. To read a retelling of this play will surely be a joy. 

The only bad news: the book won't be publis…

book review: Behind the Bell by Dustin Diamond

I grew up watching Saved by the Bell. I remember when it premiered, and I watched it obsessively ever after. Seriously, for a few years when it was in syndication, I watched it for two hours EVERY DAY. I liked Saved by the Bell: The College Years. I still recognize random guest stars when they appear on other shows now. I can still recite dialog and song lyrics from the show. I had the cd for years after it stopped being cool. (Yes, it was cool for awhile).

Given my history of enjoyment with this show, I was excited to read Dustin Diamond's memoir about the show, Behind the Bell. I didn't even have high expectations, as celebrity memoirs are rarely well written, but I had to read it.

It's the worst book I've ever read. Ever.

I contemplated not blogging about because people already will either want to read it despite it's lack of literary virtue or want to read it because of the subject. This review will not change anyone's mind.

Despite the book itself being h…

sunday salon: the week in review

It was a weak reading week for me. The end of the semester crunch is here, and I'm frantically finishing final projects. I'm currently reading The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia, which is a fascinating mystery set in the Jewish ghetto of Prague in 1592. It's not, however, the light reading I've been craving this week with school stress. Thus, I'm also reading the third Diary of a Wimpy Kid novel because it is delightful, hilarious and light.

Books finished this week:
Dead to the World by Charlaine HarrisBehind the Bell by Dustin DiamondBooks received for review:
Season of Ash by Jorge Volpi from Library Thing Early ReviewersMajor Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson from the publisherOn my television: 
I'm still enjoying Brick City, the five part documentary series about Newark on the Sundance Channel. It aired in September, but thanks to my DVR, I'm finally watching it.

I also caught up on The Good Wife, which is my favorite new show this season.


book review: Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

Dead to the World is the fourth book in successful Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris.

This book will contain some minor spoilers if you haven't read the first three books in the series.

Dead to the World picks up where Club Dead left off. Only a few days have passed, and it's the turn of a new year. Once again, Bill is about to leave, this time for Peru. Sookie's New Year's resolution is not getting beat up. Naturally, trouble finds dear Sookie as she's conscientiously driving home from work. She spots Eric running barefoot and half naked. When she stops, he has no idea who she is or who he is. What luck Sookie was driving by! Soon, dear Sookie has yet another new type of magical creature to deal with: witches who drink vampire blood, and many of them are also weres or shifters, so they're REALLY powerful. Ugh.

I found the plot of this book rather ridiculous. Eric isn't too much fun when he's not Eric. He's also not nearly as fun when he…

children's book review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid #2 - Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney

I loved the first book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and this one is almost as good. Greg is back with his diary that features his simple and usually hilarious cartoons. Not much has changes, which is a little confusing, as the first book covered an entire year, yet Greg appears to be the same age.

Fans of the first one will likely delight in this one too. For me, as an adult reader, there was a little more of a "woe is me" attitude about Greg's dealings with his older brother, Rodrick. His interactions with Rodrick lacked a little bit of humor for me. Rodrick seems to get away with everything, while Greg gets away with nothing. While I don't doubt Greg feels this way, the first book had a touch more humor when dealing with things Greg perceived as unfair. The scenes with Rodrick were my least favorite, but the rest of the book was up to its old form.

Greg's mom is in serious danger of stealing the show. Her quiet hilarity is fantastic, and I hope this tren…

book review: Empowered by Sheryl Ellinwood

Read this book. You can still read my review to find out why, or you can take my word for it and just go buy a few copies for the women in your life.

Empowered is a fascinating and informative look at breast cancer from the perspective of a survivor who took her diagnosis as a wake up call to understand the disease medically, socially and politically. Sheryl Ellinwood certainly shares bits of her own experience of dealing with the diagnosis and choosing a course of treatment, but it's not a memoir. Instead, Ellinwood thoughtfully organizes and recaps her extensive personal research about breast cancer for the reader.

The numbers: There were certainly some surprises to me, but even as someone who is rather well informed, it was fantastic to have all of this information in one place. One in seven U.S. women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, and that number keeps going up. Only 10% of breast cancer is genetic. Where is it coming from? Why are the numbers in the U.S.…

waiting on wednesday: Dear Money by Martha McPhee

Jill at Breaking the Spine hosts Waiting on Wednesday, a weekly event encouraging bookbloggers take Wednesdays to feature an upcoming book they're excited about.

This week's offering I discovered indirectly through Twitter. Martha McPhee  started following me, so I visited her Web site to see who she was. There, I discovered her latest novel, Dear Money, which sadly will not be published until June of 2010.

Before I even got to the description, I was hooked by this comment from Joseph O'Neill (Joseph O'Neill!!!!): "a skilled, always gripping satire of our foolish age."

The description of the actual book sounds great too. It begins, "In this Pygmalion tale of a novelist turned bond trader, Martha McPhee brings to life the greed and riotous wealth of New York during the heady days of the second gilded age." 

Visit Martha McPhee's Web site to read more about it!

book review: Earthly Pleasures by Karen Neches

Earthy Pleasures is a delightful book unlike anything I've ever read. It's difficult to describe. At first, I would have said it was the intersection of chick lit and science fiction, but the more I read, I saw the novel went far deeper than simply chick lit and involved a bit of a mystery as well. (I don't mean to malign chick lit; I enjoy it, but my definition of chick lit is lighthearted. If it's weighty, it veers into literary fiction or contemporary (or historical) fiction for me. Simply having a main female characters or characters, or being written by a woman, does not make it chick lit.) Earthly Pleasures first introduces us to Heaven (the place). It's a fascinating idea of what heaven would be like, but as you might expect, the recently dead often have trouble adjusting to a place where they can have anything they want. Skye, our heroine of sorts, is a greeter in heaven; she helps new arrivals deal with their transition.

Just as I was enjoying the idea of a…

book review: Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

I am perhaps one of the last readers who has never read The Time Travelers Wife. I keep meaning to, but it never finds its way to the top of my pile. Earlier this year, I read and enjoyed both of Audrey Niffenegger's illustrated novels: The Three Incestuous Sisters and The Adventuress. Still, going into Her Fearful Symmetry, I'd read several rave reviews and a few mixed reviews. I didn't know what to expect, and although I had high hopes, I kept my expectations a little lower.

Her Fearful Symmetry is essentially the story of two sets of twins: Elspeth and Edie; and Edie's daughters Julie and Valentina. The story begins with Elspeth's death in London. The details are vague, both for the characters and the reader, as to what exactly happened to these sisters that they don't speak. Elspeth leaves her London flat, which overlooks Highland Cemetary, to Julie and Valentina on three conditions. First, the girls must live there for one year before they sell it. Second,…

reading challenge: Christy Awards!

Yes, I swore off challenges because I don't like feeling pressured about what I read, but I have decided to sign up for The Christy Awards Challenge. The Christy Awards are a Christian book award that started in 2000. I've had the desire to start reading Christian fiction, but I wasn't quite sure where to start. I know there is good Christian fiction out there, but I'm sure there's some that would not work for me (as there is with almost any genre). The Christy Awards feature nine categories. To get a broad sampling of what kinds of Christian fiction are out there, I'm joining the challenge at Tier 4, where you mix and match winners. My challenge will be to read 7-9 winning books from any year. I plan to mostly read books from 2009, but I'm somewhat limited by what books my library has. If the library doesn't have the book, or if it really doesn't appeal to me, I'll try to find a book from another year in the same category.

The challenge starte…

sunday salon: week in review

Currently reading: Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris. It's the fourth book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. It's also the first one I've read since starting to watch True Blood on dvd, so I'm curious to see if the reading experience changes. Club Dead was my least favorite in the series, and so far, Sookie is getting on my nerves like she did in that book. I'm hoping the action picks up soon!
Finished this week:
I had a fantastic week of reading. I read nine books this week, but one was a children's graphic novel and five were easy readers. I posted the five easy reader reviews as part of my 2008 Cybils Easy Reader feature. Look for reviews of these four books this week:
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey NiffeneggerEarthly Pleasures by Karen NechesEmpowered by Sheryl EllinwoodDiary of a Wimpy Kid #2: Rodrick Rules by Jeff KinneyBook Received for Review this week:
The Postmistress by Sarah BlakeWatching on tv:
I finally started watching Brick City, the 5-part Sunda…

2008 Cybils Easy Readers Wrap-Up

I had so much fun reading the five finalists from the 2008 Cybils Easy Readers category. There were clear favorites (two five star reviews) and a clear least favorite (the lone three star review). It was quite difficult for me to choose a winner. I truly loved both I Will Surprise My Friend! and Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig. It's hard to compare and contrast because they're at wildly different reading levels to be considered in the same category. According to School Library Journal, I Will Surprise My Friend!is appropriate for kindergartners through second graders, and Mercy Watson is appropriate for grades 2-4. Perhaps I only hang out with advanced readers, but both of those ranges seem a little high to me. While elementary students may well enjoy I Will Surprise My Friend!, it seems to me to be more of a preschool and kindergarten book. I understand most children may not learn to read before first grade, and thus the easy reader definition for the Cybils works. Regardless,…

children's book review: I Love My New Toy! by Mo Willems

Welcome to day five of my assessment of the 2008 Easy Readers Cybils awards. Today features I Love My New Toy!by Mo Willems, which one the award. Tomorrow I'll present my wrap-up and vote for my winner.

I documented my love for Mo Willems in Monday's review of I Will Surprise My Friend!, so I won't repeat myself. I love the Elephant and Piggie books, and despite being hilarious and clever, they don't need to be read in any particular order.

In I Love My New Toy!, Piggie has a new toy. Elephant, of course, wants to play with Piggie's toy. He promptly breaks it. Squirrel pops up to diffuse the situation in his own blissfully ignorant way. Once again, the characters are simple and complex; most importantly, they're nuances but true to their attributes. The focus is humor, and the "lesson" is secondary and tongue-in-cheek. As always, Mo Willems' drawings mimic his story: they're remarkable simple yet nuanced and complex.

Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5…

children's book review: Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time

It's day four of my week-long look at the 2008 Cybil Award Easy Reader finalists. Tomorrow I'll review the winning book, and Saturday I'll wrap-up my thoughts on the easy reader category and name my own winner.

Houndsley and Catina are a continuing set of characters. It's the first book I've read, so I can't say if one should read them in order or not. Houndsley, a dog, and Catina, a cat, appear to be roommates and best friends, although there may well be a romance or familial relation. It's the first snow of the winter, and Houndsley is thrilled. He loves to be snowed in an imagines their home to be like an island. Catina is not thrilled because she is very much looking forward to the concert tonight. She's been practicing for months. Slowly, Houndsley convinces her to join him on the island and think of all the fun things they can do without leaving home.

Houndsley and Catina are cute, and they both manage to have a mix of childlike and grown-up sensi…

children's book review: Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig by Kate DiCamillo

Welcome to day three of my reviews of the 2008 Cybil Award finalists in the Easy Reader category.

Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig is the fifth book in the Mercy Watson series. I confess Chris Van Dusen's illustrations captured my attention first, but the combination of the story and the illustrations was perfect. The book itself is exactly what early chapter books should be: a combination of the familiar picture book and the soon-to-be familiar chapter book. The illustrations and font size are consistent with a picture book, but the page size and length are consistent with chapter books. Most importantly, the story and illustrations are delightful.

Mercy Watson is adorably precocious and utterly porcine. While Mercy is enjoying some fresh lemonade with her owners/parents, she smells fresh pansies and promptly wanders next door to eat them because they taste as good as they smell. Naturally, the neighbors are not pleased and call animal control. Hijinks ensue. DiCamillo mostly tells …

Waiting on Wednesday: Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Waiting on Wednesdayis a new feature at nomadreader. Jill at Breaking the Spine hosts this weekly event encouraging book bloggers take Wednesdays to feature an upcoming book they're excited about.

Title: Remarkable Creatures
Author: Tracy Chevalier
What else has she written: Girl with a Pearl Earring (the basis for the film of the same name with Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson), Falling Angels, Burning Bright, The Lady and the Unicorn, and The Virgin Blue.
Pages: 320
Publication date: January 5, 2010

I am a huge fan of Tracy Chevalier. I first read Girl with a Pearl Earring because I love art history and novels about art history. Falling Angels is my favorite Chevalier book. It's a fictionalization of Emmaline Pankhurst and the British women's suffrage movement. I also loved The Lady and the Unicorn, another take on a famous work of art. I had the privilege to see the panels in Paris, and they truly came to life in new ways because of Chevalier's novel.

Remarkable Creatur…

children's book review: Maybelle Goes to Tea by Katie Speck

Welcome to day two of 2008 Cybils Easy Readers Week at nomadreader! Yesterday, I reviews I Will Surprise My Friend! by Mo Willems.

Maybelle Goes to Tea is the story of Maybelle, a cockroach so feminine and allegedly cute she wears a pink bow and pearls; Henry the flea, who lives with Maybelle at the Peabody's house; and Maurice the fly who sometimes meanders inside. The Peabodys, of course, do not know these critters live in their house. At the first sight of them, bug bombs and exterminators appear. In this installment, Mrs. Peabody is hosting a lady's tea. Maybelle cannot follow her rules, "when it's light, stay out of sight; if you're spied, better hide; and never meet with human feet," with Mrs. Peabody baking chocolate surprise cookies.

I like the idea behind the story. It could be comforting to kids to have a cute face put on household pests. After living in the South for years, I believe cleanliness does not equal buglessness, and it is inevitable for c…

children's book review: I Will Surprise My Friend! by Mo Willems

Welcome to the first day of 2008 Cybils Finalists: Easy Readers at nomadreader! The Cybils are children's and young adult literary awards awarded by book bloggers. The 2009 nomination period has passed, and the panel is busy reading all of the nominations. The finalists will be announced on January 1, 2010. I'd love to serve on a future Cybils panel, so I'm reading all of the finalists from 2008 and making my case for which book should win. This week, I'm looking at the 2008 Easy Reader finalists. Each day I'll review on of the five finalists, and I'll bring you my verdict on Saturday.

It's no secret I adore Mo Willems. Knuffle Bunny is one of my favorite children's books, and Knuffle Bunny Too is perhaps my favorite children's picture book. I thoroughly enjoy his blog as well.  The Elephant and Piggie series consistently manages to delight young children and adults. Although I can't speak from experience, these are books I would not tire of rea…

sunday salon: the week in review

It was a busy week, and I didn't get very much reading done.

Currently reading: Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. I was thrilled when Her Fearful Symmetry came in for me at the library this week. I'm only a quarter of the way through it, but I am really enjoying it so far. I haven't read Niffenegger's first novel, The Time Traveler's Wife, but I loved her two illustrated novels: The Three Incestuous Sisters and The Adventuress.

Books finished this week:
The Sound of Language by Amulya MalladiBooks reviewed this week:
Benny and Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti Rescuing Seneca Crane by Susan RunholtThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Sound of Language by Amulya MalladiDiary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Books received for review:
The Fifth Servant by Kenneth WishniaHard Work by Roy WilliamsThe coming week:
In preparation for the new round of Cybils winners, I'm reading last year's finalists and winners in each category to see if I would have voted differentl…